After the outbreak of COVID-19 affected the health of so many older people across the globe, the United Nations decided that the theme of the International Day of Older People (1st October) this year, would be on the impact of pandemics on how we address age and ageing.
“Recognizing older persons contributions to their own health and the multiple roles they play in the preparedness and response phases of current and future pandemics is also important.” reads the UN website.
We could not agree more.
The work of AGE since the COVID-19 outbreak reached Europe has been to monitor how the pandemic impacted older people. Our report on the impact of COVID-19 on the human rights of older people revealed that not only older people’s health has been at risk of severe forms of illness. Older people have experienced serious violations of their rights too.
Measures taken to contain the virus unequally impacted people depending on their multiple identities, their diverse needs for support, and living situations (at home, alone or in family, in residential settings, etc.). The risk of violence and elder abuse increased during the pandemic, especially during lockdown.
“Older people are systematically left behind in decisions about service allocation, medical treatment, prioritisation of needs and resources.”
Those words by our President Ebbe Johansen in May 2020 were echoed by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in their COVID-19 bulletin #3 where examples of consultation with representative organisations of older people on COVID-19 related measures could only be collected in Denmark, Finland, and Slovenia.
On the International Day of Older People, AGE Platform Europe invites you to reflect, engage with older people’s organisations, and participate in this global debate on how the COVID-19 pandemic will influence the way we see older people and how we address ageing.
A commemorative event on the theme of the UN Day 2020 will be held virtually on 1st October from 15:00 to 18:00 (Brussels time). It is possible to register online on the website of the NGO Committee on Ageing.
For more information on AGE contribution to this year’s International Day of Older People, you may contact Estelle Huchet, firstname.lastname@example.org